Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Book-Cover Plaque with Christ in Majesty

ca. 1210–20
Made in Limoges, France
Copper: engraved, chased, scraped, stippled, and gilt; champlevé enamel: dark and light blue, turquoise, green, yellow, red, and white
Overall (with wooden support): 10 5/8 x 6 5/8 x 13/16 in. (27 x 16.9 x 2 cm) enamels without wooden support: 10 1/4 x 6 5/16 in. (26.1 x 16 cm) center plaque: 8 1/4 x 4 1/4 in. (21 x 10.8 cm) vertical border plaques: 8 1/4 x 1 in. (21 x 2.6 cm) horizontal border plaques: 6 1/4 x 1 in. (15.9 x 2.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
The importance of scripture in Christianity is such that the book becomes an attribute of God himself. Here Christ is poised majestically in the heavens, surrounded by winged symbols of the authors of the four gospels, two of whom clutch books. This book cover is typical of more than a hundred surviving examples created in Limoges, France in the early 13th century. Luxurious in appearance, such book covers, made from enameled copper plaques, were a relatively sturdy and affordable alternative to silver or gold. Few book covers of Limoges work are still attached to manuscripts, but those that are can be found on gospel books across Europe: in Cracow, Germany and France.
Inscription: Inscription: A/w (Alpha/omega).
Georges Hoentschel (French, Paris 1855–1915 Paris); J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)
Pératé, André. Collections Georges Hoentschel: Émaux du XIIe au XVe siècle. Paris: Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1911. no. 55, fig. XXXII.

Steenbock, Frauke. Der kirchliche Prachteinband im frühen Mittelalter: von den Anfängen bis zum Beginn der Gotik. Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenshcaft, 1965. p. 226, fig. 125.

Gauthier, Marie-Madeleine. Émaux Méridionaux: Catalogue International de l'Oeuvre de Limoges; L'apogée 1190-1215. Corpus des émaux méridionaux, Vol. II. Paris: Éditions du centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1987 [2011]. no. V D, no. 12, pp. 232--233.

Taburet-Delahaye, Elisabeth, and Barbara Drake Boehm, ed. L'Oeuvre de Limoges: Emaux limousins du Moyen Age. Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1995. no. 87, p. 279.

Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye, ed. Enamels of Limoges, 1100-1350. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996. no. 86, p. 279.

Krohn, Deborah L., Ulrich Leben, and Daniëlle O. Kisluk-Grosheide, ed. Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture, 2013. no. 136, p. 171.

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